Wonderful reasons to be Catholic

Following my recent blog on David Aaronovitch’s memoir, there was a comment by someone going by the name “Terry Mushroom”. I don’t always read all the comments following blogs, but Terry’s was so good I actually wrote it down (a first for me) and wish to share it here for those who might have missed it. Someone had asked Terry the reasons for his faith and this is what he replied:

1. Watching his parents pray when he was a child and when life was hard for them. We must never underestimate the power of example – often much more powerful than argument.

2. Accompanying the sick at Lourdes. I have done this too, so recognise the importance of immersing oneself in a Catholic culture, where the sick and infirm are loved and celebrated, especially when in one’s ordinary circumstances of life euthanasia is constantly being promoted as the sensible “choice”.

3. Visiting Auschwitz and recognising that atheism has no explanation for evil. I have not done this, though I have visited a smaller Nazi transit camp in Holland, which was grim in its own way. The sheer scale of Auschwitz is what horrifies visitors i.e. the sheer scale of the human capacity for evil.

4. The memory of his father’s stories of meeting an Australian priest, Fr Marsden, who was chaplain to the Australian troops forced to work on the Thailand railway in World War II. Interestingly, I had also heard of this priest, when reading the short memoir by the late Fr Hugh Thwaites SJ, describing his time as a prisoner of war of the Japanese. Then a young man, not yet a Catholic, Fr Thwaites was struck by the quiet heroism of Fr Marsden, who never failed to lift the spirits of the men under his spiritual charge, whatever the appalling circumstances they endured. Continue reading

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